Rising Insurance Costs Force Louisiana Woman to Sell Her Home of Nearly 30 Years

Many Louisiana homeowners are suffering from skyrocketing insurance costs, and prices are expected to rise even further.

According to Insurify, an online insurance marketplace, the cost of house insurance in Louisiana may rise by 23% by the end of the year, the largest increase in the country.

Cheron Brylski, a Louisiana homeowner, says she’s had enough.

When Brylski and her husband moved into their 3,400-square-foot home in Uptown New Orleans over 30 years ago, they invested everything they had.

“This was our forever home,” Brylski explained. “So, we invested a lot of our sweat and tears into renovating it.”

The couple purchased the home in 1995.

They spent two decades creating memories in their house until Cheron’s husband, Harold, died in 2015.

The house is still packed with pictures of him and the images he recorded as a photographer.

Brylski said she never anticipated selling her home, but the rising cost of homeowners insurance has forced her to confront a dismal financial reality.

“The other thing that really started to hit me was living within my retirement budget,” she told me. “My property taxes are substantial, but they are frozen due to my age at this time. But my property insurance is really costly.”

According to Brylski, it now costs approximately $15,000 per year to insure her home.

She owns her home outright, but says she pays $2,500 a month in property taxes and insurance to stay there.

However, she stated that paying the increasing bills has become unsustainable, thus she has opted to sell her home.

“It’s making living in a house that I own impossible to stay in,” Brylski told me. “And I’m not the only one in New Orleans going through that. “You can drive around this neighborhood and see a lot of for sale signs.”

It’s difficult to say exactly how many people in the New Orleans area are selling their houses due to rising insurance costs, but the local real estate market is taking notice.

“There is certainly some of that,” said Mark Rodi, broker and owner of Metairie-based RE/MAX Affiliates. “What the percentage of the market that is, I can’t tell you exactly, but I do hear it from the agents.”

Rodi has been in the real estate business for nearly 50 years and believes there are numerous reasons why people opt to sell their homes.

He said he wouldn’t be surprised if sky-high insurance costs were among them.

“There are a lot of widows and widowers who are on fixed incomes and when you have an insurance policy that doubles or more that you weren’t expecting, it’s going to affect your lifestyle,” Rodi told me.

Brylski has advertised her four-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home for $1.1 million, but finding someone who can afford to buy and insure it is another story.

So far, she has only showed it to one possible buyer.

“Downsizing is the only option for me, and there are several reasons for it. To be honest, the most important factor is financial. It’s not simply that I’m getting older; I’ve been struggling with this decision for almost three years,” Brylski explained.

The insurance crisis in Louisiana appears to affect a wide range of income levels.

Habitat for Humanity is demanding over $2 million from the New Orleans City Council to assist over 100 owners of affordable housing avoid foreclosure. According to the nonprofit’s executive director, the expense of insurance is putting families under financial strain.

“Many of them are at risk of becoming homeless, and then they will become dependent on other city services,” Habitat for Humanity’s Marguerite Oestreicher said.

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